June 2013 News

2013 06 28 14.42.26 Gareth HughesOur visitor up to Porteous HIll this month was Gareth Hughes, Green Party Politician (see inset photo).  He wanted to talk to us about the proposed Greens/Labour "NZ Power" policy.

Our Pine Hill Community Energy Advice project (in partnership with Presbyterian Support Otago) is now complete. Many thanks to Chris Freear for managing this work and successfully giving residents the tools to become effective ‘energy practitioners’ for their community. BRCT remains committed to providing community energy advice and has a wealth of resources at the BRCT office. We are also working towards running a ‘Cosy Homes Workshop’ later in the year, conditional on funding. Meanwhile, small scale solar installations and preparations for installations are continuing in Blueskin – usually between 2 – 4kW arrays per household. On the 4th of July “Solarcity” (Solarcity is a national solar provider) is providing an ‘installation workshop’ for an already well subscribed group of Blueskin residents who will gain skills and learn about solar systems and connection to the grid. Solar and wind complement each other extremely well as these two renewable systems generate power at different times, meaning that the level of energy fed into the grid is more steady than that of a wind cluster or household photovoltaic arrays alone. We can’t build community energy resilience overnight or with just one system but we can when we take a strategic approach. You can find out more about solar in our leaflet.

Work on the wind cluster continues apace as we seek expert appraisals on environmental effects that might result from the proposed development. It is important to have as robust expert information as possible (while doing so with the resources we have) and we are incredibly grateful to the experts who are contributing their expertise to the project. While it is relatively straightforward to install wind turbines and generate electricity we also need to find out whether there would be any undesireable effects (i.e. would there be noise, and if so, would it bother anyone nearby? Would there be any traffic disruptions during construction, and if so, how many?), and not simply concentrate on the many positives. This is part of the process of preparing a Resource Consent application, which is my main work at present. It is fascinating getting into the close detail of what building local wind generation will involve. Once a full Resource Consent application draft is complete, another round of community engagement will take place to see if anything has been missed, before it is lodged with the DCC.

Visit us at the office at 1121 Mt Cargill Rd, Waitati. Telephone enquiries can be made on 4822048 (the Wind Cluster) and for any information about the solar project email solar@blueskinpower.co.nz.

By Scott Willis